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The Seimas Ombudsmen issued 2300 recommendations to state institutions regarding violation of human rights in 2018

17 May 2019

Normantas AugustinasOn 15 May 2019, the activity report of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office was discussed at the Seimas Committee on Human Rights: almost 2 000 individual’s complaints were received in the year. People complain about the bureaucracy of civil servants or inability to solve their problems in different state institutions; however, it is noted that public awareness of human rights is still not sufficient.

“We are investigating citizens’ complaints about the abuse of office by or bureaucracy of the officials, performing national prevention of torture in places of detention and since last year implementing the functions of national human rights institution. Therefore, it can be said that we are monitoring the human rights in all areas”, highlighted the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office Augustinas Normantas when presenting the report.

One-third of all the complaints examined concerned violations of human rights at the places of deprivation of liberty and, to a lesser extent, improper investigation of individual’s appeals. It is noted that in most cases, people applied regarding the management of waste and renovation of multi-apartment buildings. The Seimas Ombudsman has emphasised that one of the most sensitive topics is the waste management issue.

Often the officials set the tax systematically, without considering whether a person uses or not a waste management container. There are cases when an elderly person does not even have physical efforts to walk to a container, which is built almost half a kilometre away. After all, the authorities should serve the people; therefore, we try to figure out whether the officials have done their best to resolve a person’s problem”, notes the Seimas Ombudsman A. Normantas.

The Seimas Ombudsmen, in the exercise of national prevention of torture, visit imprisonment, social care, mental and child care institutions. The investigations and monitoring of the human rights situation cover a wide range of sensitive areas of public life. Visits to mental health institutions, care homes and correctional institutions allow for better disclosure of systemic human rights issues, that would be difficult to identify if only investigating received complaints.

While supervising how the state fosters and ensures the enforcement of human rights, the Seimas Ombudsmen provided a total of over 2 300 recommendations to state and municipal institutions. The authorities to which the recommendations of the Seimas Ombudsmen are presented must investigate them and take adequate measures to implement them. Last year, the percentage of implemented recommendations amounted to 93%.

“The decisions of the Ombudsmen are of a recommendatory nature, but any state or municipal authority to which recommendations are made must examine them and provide a reasoned reply as to why there is one or another situation. The issued recommendation is a signal, which warns that human rights are not sufficiently guaranteed”, says the Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas.

 

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